Speaking French Fluently

@Languish (137)
January 1, 2007 7:16pm CST
I've been studying french now on and off for a couple of years after being introduced to the vibrant and extensive music scene. This grew into a general love of all things french, the culture, the movies, the way of life and after an wonderful study holiday in 2004 in Caen, France became convinced i'd made the right move. I speak french most days now, especially online, and ultimately i hope to become at least comforable in casual conversation. Unfortunately learning part time, and via music and movies, my vocabulary and grammar isn't superb. I can cobble together a simple chat but nothing like i would like to do. I guess my question is... have you managed to learn to speak ANY foreign language? Was there a magical moment when you just felt like you were clicking? For me, i am happy with my progress but wish i could spend a year or two in university (or immersion) to really reap the benefits of learning more of french language and culture.
5 people like this
25 responses
@Ekacker (26)
• United States
2 Jan 07
I started learning French when I was in kindergarten...and I took it all the way through high school and half of college. I was, at one point in my life, truly fluent. Unfortunately, I married a man who doesn't speak French, so I haven't been able to practice much in the last 20 years. Along the way, I also took some Spanish, and some Russian (not nearly as hard as you would think). I think the key to learning a language is to start as young as possible, and practice, practice, practice... Bonne chance!
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Wow... truly fluent? That's cool - but also a shame that you were not able to maintain your fluency. Have you thought of re-acquainting yourself with the language?
• United States
2 Jan 07
I try to practice when I find people who speak French. Unfortunately, here in Texas, Spanish is the most common language. There are a few people where I work who speak French (one lady is from Canada) and we practice when time permits. My daughter is taking Latin in high school and likes it, so I can't practice with her, either. Quelle dommage!
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
I can imagine, in Texas, that French would hardly been a prominent language. Even given our proximity to france - finding someone who speaks french, say for example in my office in london, is virtually impossible. Like you my son is studying Latin - and prefers it to French. C'est vraiment bizarre à mon avis!
@feralcat (426)
• Canada
2 Jan 07
I only speak twp languages. My native tongue is French and English as my secondary language. I grew up in Vanier, Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Vanier is a small french community. If you want to hear some wonderful french music I suggest Lynda Lemay, Vincent Vallieres, Daniel Boucher, Corbeau. For films there is VidOCq and Dans L'oeil du Chat (there are many more great frech films out there). Here in Canada we have Radio Canada which is a great french television channel. Where I live now I speak mainly English, I only get to speak French now mostly when I talk to my family back home on the phone and I at times miss that whole french culture I grew up with.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
It's surprising, to those who don't know, how 'french' quebec actually is. It sounds absurd to say it, knowing what i know, but alot of people think Canada is basically an anglophone country. They couldn't be anymore wrong. I know two quebecois quite well - and they speak french as a first language, not as a second.
@feralcat (426)
• Canada
2 Jan 07
When people think French they think Quebec but there are many small communities throughout Canada of french speaking people. There is St. Boniface here in Winnipeg, a French Acadian Comminity in P.E.I and other many other ones.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
It's interesting to see how widespread it actually is...
• Brazil
2 Jan 07
Currently I am work at Hilton Hotel Belém, in Brazil, and we receive many French people. They use wonderful fragances and almost all them are friendly. I'd like to communicate using their language, but I dont have time to learn it. However, I will dedicate some time to do it and travel to France to test my French skills...
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Cool. I can relate to the 'never having time to learn it' problem. I try to keep myself immersed by reading (i read a novel at lunch) and listening to french everyday (all my music is french rap or pop)... in the evenings i speak french to my friends. It's the best i can do in between studying more formally.
@peaceful (3286)
• United States
2 Jan 07
Because of my love for food and shopping, I've taken the step of managing to learn some of the languages of the merchants that I patronize... Usually, I will overhear the language and try to guage what it is and then order a foodstuff with it... Sometimes, the merchant will be pleasantly surprised enough to start a conversation with you and show tell you some of the finer points of the language that you are trying to learn. In my experience, though, the best way to learn a language is to get a date with someone who speaks it...
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Oooh... that could be difficult as i am married, but still... food for thought :)
@beyonce03 (2331)
• Canada
2 Jan 07
I know how hard french grammar can be. There is so many exception. Even when french is your first language grammar can be hard. Since I was 10 years old I've been learning englsih. At 12years old I went to an immersion school. 5month english, 5month academic. it realy helped me improve. I have no problem understanding. I read in english, watch tv, listen to music. But writing and speaking are hard for me. I don't have the chance to practice a lot and I hope MyLot will help me with my writing.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Hi. I have heard, somewhat surprisingly, that quite a few of my (young) french friends find speaking english difficult. Several of my friends speak no english whatsoever. They have been pleasantly surprised that an englishman can grapple with their grammar. I've found it generally straightforward - in fact, when you look at english, french seems far more logical and 'right' than english. I agree with you though - immersion is the way to go!
@asazam (159)
• Netherlands
2 Jan 07
wel languis. im also a language freak. im a pakistanni actually but i luv to larn abt different languages.. im crazy abt it. i ve got courses from paris on how to larn french. i can speak, english, urdu, punjabi, and a lil bit of dutch french and chinese. its fun really. but i ve a question... wen u started learning did u have difficulty with the pronunciation thing.. i felt it so difficult.. bcoz its too different from english pronunciation.. wat do u say
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Actually, without boasting, i've often been complimented on my accent. I actually find this aspect of french the easiest.
@prospar (86)
• Brazil
2 Jan 07
omelet du fromage? :o
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
... from Dexter's Laboratory right... ? ;)
@rickis (865)
• Indonesia
2 Jan 07
I'm very interesting to learn any foreign language, but to learn foreign language, we must often use the foreign language in our life
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Exactly. I try to use it everyday, spoken and written... and it definitely helps.
• India
2 Jan 07
no i got a chance to learn french but the busy shedule suppresed my intensions.but its really nice know many languages.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
It's a shame real life often infringes on our desires like this.
@juliedee (2390)
2 Jan 07
I studied languages at college and my job was as an interpreter and translator. I am fluent in French and lived in France for a while. I enjoyed learning languages and have found it very useful in life to know a foreign language.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
One of my eventual, long term aims, is to perhaps end up working as an interpreter or translator. You are very lucky to have done and achieved all of my future hopes ;)
• Brazil
2 Jan 07
Yes. I speak Portuguese(my country language), English(the universal language) and know a bit of Spanish. I think these 3 languages are good and will help me a lot in the future.
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Impressive, i hope one day to be as proficient as you are :)
@wolfie34 (26820)
• United Kingdom
2 Jan 07
Firstly, welcome to Mylot. I had a strong love of French at school, many moons ago now, but the teacher we had couldn't control the class, she was hopeless, my French suffered and it was a miracle how I passed my exam, but I am certainly not fluent, I wish I was. I guess I don't have the aptitude to learn another language. I would love to be bilingual, but I'm no go with teach yourself books or tapes, I have to have a teacher, possibly 1-2-1 but that would be expensive. It has always been an ambition of mine, hopefully to be fulfilled one day.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
I can relate to your frustrations - for myself, in my school, it was German. I don't remember much about French in my schooling as the general student populace disliked the language. The one language i remember loving, thanks to the enthusiasm of the teacher, was Spanish. In the end i passed Spanish but failed French and German. Funny now how i prefer French - but this is a side effect of falling in love with the film and music industry in France. I think you are perhaps being a little harsh on yourself with regards to not having the aptitude. I feel the same but have clearly noticed an improved after two years of largely studying by myself, taking evening classes, and trying to read, write and speak in french where possible. It's when you can measure success like that, that you realise you DO have the aptitude. Consider taking it slowly - like me. It seems to work :)
@momocute (25)
• Singapore
2 Jan 07
I live in Indonesia. Here, beside our national language, which is Indonesian, we have so many regional languages, such as Balinese, Javanese, Sundanese, etc. So that, I am as Javanese has to be able to speak in Javanese. But now, after meeting my fiance, I am curious to learn sundanese as well. Because I think it will make me easily to get closer with his family and increasing my knowledge about other cultures. Moreover, I also like to learn Japanese. I don't know why, but I have a big eager to learn Japanese since I was kid. Perhaps it was because of the japanese cartoon movie's influence that I used to see in my childhood. That's why I took Japanese language course for one year during my college time. I really adore Japanese culture, from their life philosophies till thier disciplinary. And it really influences my daily activities. My friends know me as a hard worker. I work hard, because I learn that from the Japanese. Yeah, you're rite, it's amazing how's learning languages can improve our life and also open our mind. Because by learning language, we also adsorb about the culture of another country.
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
I never knew that there was such regional diversity in Indonesia. I think, given the problems in today's world, the more we learn of other peoples languages and cultures the better. I think after french i will study an non-european language... perhaps arabic, chinese or japanese. It's always impressive to learn of someone like yourself who clearly has the right attitude to learning. I hope one day to emulate that attitude.
@coldmoon (1092)
• France
2 Jan 07
I'm a foreigner in France too. In the first time, my frech is only enough for the regular communication. But I improve it time by time, and now I reckon that it's okay. But I don't think that a year in the university is important.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Are you english as well (like me)? I am not sure about the comment regarding universities. This could just be my impression. Even after a week in Caen University i felt a huge difference in my ability and confidence. Maybe a year would be excessive but an immersion of several weeks or months would be excellent in my opinion.
@royrules1 (180)
• India
2 Jan 07
i really wanted to but there was never been a chance to learn so could u refer any website that i can get the materials to talk with and learn !
1 person likes this
@timou87 (1643)
• Singapore
2 Jan 07
I feel that French culture and history is an extremely complex and fascinating one, and to be able to fully enjoy the essence of French culture, one should be able to understand their language. Bravo on thaking the step of learning this complicated language, you will see the rewards of learning it in time to come.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Hopefully - i am patient, and have not been frustrated yet, and fortunately time is also on my side as i am learning (at the moment) purely for pleasure.
@ellemayra (284)
• Indonesia
2 Jan 07
I learned French four years ago, and now I really couldn't remember how to speak, I just often use a synonym. Actually it's very nice to learn French cos it would add our knowledge indeed, and even my mainly language is not English, I still interested at French language most.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
Is this because you do not 'actively' use it?
@jewel76 (2305)
• Canada
2 Jan 07
Well, since meeting my husband, 4 and 1/2 years ago, i've learned quite a few words in his native tongue, portuguese. I can't really start a conversation,but will understand most of any conversations. I also speak french, which is my mother tongue, and english and italian. Here in Quebec, you sort of have to speak at least french and english, although, a lot of Quebequers, want us to speak french only, but hey, it's a free country right? Good luck with your learning french.
1 person likes this
@Languish (137)
2 Jan 07
In some respects i am like you. I can understand a lot, especially of written french, but to actually start and engage in a conversation i tend to struggle. Fortunately my friends know my limits - so, every now and again, i can surprise them.
• United States
2 Jan 07
i like french too .i consider it elegent delicate language but to be good in any language you have to practice it .learn and practice
1 person likes this
@padhukr (2267)
• India
2 Jan 07
sorry.i don't know speak french.
@paraacbe (231)
• India
2 Jan 07
bonjour monsieur..tis only i knoe in french!!!!!